Great Depression and WWII

Notes: Documents and Common Core lessons useful to the study of the period from 1929 to 1945.

Multimedia

Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945

David M. Kennedy is the Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History at Stanford University. Freedom from Fear focuses primarily on political and economic developments, recounting how presidents and citizens responded to the two great...

Notes: Pod-cast of Professor David M. Kennedy's lecture

Essay

The Great Depression

Herbert Hoover got many things wrong about the great economic calamity that destroyed...

Notes: On-line essay by Professor David M. Kennedy

General George S. Patton Addressing the 80th Infantry (GLC06760.26)
Essay

The Great Depression and World War II, 1929-1945

Across the long arc of American history, three moments in particular have disproportionately determined the course of the Republic’s development....

Notes: On-line essay by Professor David M. Kennedy

Hooverville in Portland, Oregon, photograph by Arthur Rothstein, July 1936. (Lib
Primary Source

Photograph of a “Hooverville,” 1936

“Hoovervilles” were temporary communities that America’s homeless created to provide shelter for themselves and their families during the Great Depression. They were so named as an...

Notes: Photos, broadsides, radio broadcasts, newsreels in movie theaters, newspapers and magazines illustrated the agony faced by Americans during The Great Depression. These galvanized opposition to Hoover's economic policies and rallied supporters to FDR.

Inaugural Address of Franklin D. Roosevelt, March 4, 1933 (GLC00675)
Teaching Resource

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address

View this item in the Gilder Lehrman Collection.Unit Objective

...

Notes: Common Core approach by Tim Bailey

Franklin D. Roosevelt, [Press release of speech delivered on Memorial Day at Get
Primary Source

George Washington would have supported the New Deal, 1934

During his first term, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to deflect opposition to the New Deal. Speaking at Gettysburg on Memorial Day, 1934, Roosevelt invoked the memory of...

Notes: A master of PR, Roosevelt used his address on Memorial Day at Gettysburg to connect George Washington's policies to those of the New Deal.

Teaching Resource

Eleanor Roosevelt on Democracy and Citizenship

Unit Objective

This unit is part of Gilder Lehrman’s series of Common Core State Standards–based teaching resources. These units were developed to enable students to understand, summarize, and analyze original texts of historical significance....

Notes: Common Core approach by Julie Baergen

World War II poster (Gilder Lehrman Collection)
Primary Source

FDR on racial discrimination, 1942

On June 25, 1941, almost six months before the United States’ entry into World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law Executive Order 8802, prohibiting racial...

Notes: The letter illustrates a determination to work toward the end of racial discrimination but is tempered with by an understanding that deep Democratic Southern support as well as that of primarily white labor unions was still essential.

“Be a Cadet Nurse,” United States Public Health Service, 1944. (GLC09520.04)
Primary Source

Cadet Nurse Corps, 1943

The Cadet Nurse Corps, established by the Nurse Training Act of 1943, recruited women between the ages of seventeen and thirty-five to be trained as nurses. First...

Notes: Images such as this and others like Rosie the Riveter provide a "window" into gender roles and economic opportunity for females during WWII.

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